It’s been quite interesting living in an all-too digital world and seeing how gifting has changed for many folks who go that route with nearly every purchase. Me? I like giving and receiving actual product for the most part unless it’s a case where the only way to get something is via a code voucher of some sort. That said, I feel kind of bad for kids raised in this era where some parents or other tech-savvy adults seem to hate on the very idea of handing a kid something nicely wrapped that’s NOT another gift card that devalues over time if not used up for a place they’ll never visit in person. So, in the interest of getting you out of the house and offline for oh, maybe an hour or two, I’m tossing a few suggestions your way (which are also available in digital form if you like).
LEGO Worlds (PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch)- Ever-busy developer TT Games pulls out all the stops in this great sandbox game that’s packed with content and a ton of freedom once you get past the tutorial and early story missions. This is one of those great family games that’s so much fun to play you’ll want to sneak in some time alone once that kid is asleep.
On the other hand, you’d very likely want to play this with your kid or at least have a second controller handy as the game supports up to 2 players in either online or offline modes. Hours will zip by when this is on, but at least you won’t need to worry about stepping on loose LEGO pieces or having the family pet making them disappear after they smack part of what you’ve built under the sofa.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Game & Sock Bundle Pack (PS4)- Can’t decide on getting games or socks for the holidays? Got a relative who auto-buys you socks because he or she has zero clue about games? Why not get BOTH with this bundle of completely remastered PS1 classics that include the first three games in the series lovingly reworked by Vicarious Visions with tons of new HD specific features?
Between the redone visuals, the ability to play as Coco Bandicoot in all three games and a bunch of great stuff only those true masters of unlocking will get to see (yes, the games are as challenging as ever)l you get SOCKS you’ll probably actually wear at some point. But don’t try and stuff those stockings on the box with the game, as that would make for weird gift to receive and probably stretch out one of those socks in the process.
Ben 10 (PS4/Xbox One/Switch)- Simple and very fun beat-em-up fun from developer Torus Games that’s pretty cool beans because it’s meant for its target market (mostly young boys, but anyone can play this with no worries) and hits that sweet spot squarely in the face. The game’s arcade-like feel and solid, cartoony visual presentation takes the Cartoon Network’s newest incarnation of the popular show and makes it work, although you’ll have to be all aboard the current version’s humor train for some of the jokes.
Granted, if your kid watches the show regularly and can run lines like a pro (hey, a voice acting career could be in the cards), they’ll be all over this as quickly as it can be unwrapped (or even faster). It’s not the longest game on the planet by far, but it’s got that replay value thing working for it if you’re getting this for a fan of any age.
Party Planet (Nintendo Switch)- Well, you’ll HAVE to go outside to get this game, as it’s currently a GameStop exclusive here in the US and an EB Games one up in Canada. Okay, you can get it on the eShop as a digital download, but let’s get you off that device and out into some fresh air. Mastiff Games and developer Teyon have 30 mini-games set across 10 themed worlds where up to four players can dive in and have a blast.
While not every game’s a total winner, there’s a ton of family fun to be had here. It’s a case where trying them all out and getting friends involved makes them all worth a go, especially if you like things a bit goofy on your game nights. Just think of this as a colorful carnival where you get to play every game at the fair and not get any cotton candy stuck in your hair and it’s all good.
Radial-G: Racing Revolved (PS4)- While it’s PSVR compatible right out of the case, you can indeed also play this futuristic racer from Perp Games on your PS4 or PS4 Pro without the extra gimmickry and with an added viewpoint you don’t get in the VR version. This ends up making the game more accessible for kids or adults who want a challenge without fear of any sort of dizziness. It’s also something I’d wish VR developers would think about making standard issue as they’ll sell more games to those players who can’t play VR games for that very reason.
Anyway, this mix of F-Zero, WipeOut, Nanotek Warrior and a few other influences is very cool, but might take a bit of getting used to until you get the hand of come of the twistier tracks. Still, for all its flashy visuals and decent sense of speed, there’s a kind of casual flow to the game that’s appreciated because it opens up things to novice players (although you’ll run across a few tricky courses as the game progresses. This one can be played solo offline or with up to eight players online, so it may be a game you can recommend to a fellow PS4/PS4 Pro owner if they’re in need of a quick adrenaline fix.
Yes indeed, there are a few more suggestions on the way in the next installment. I’m just waiting for a package or three to arrive or you’d have a few more titles to read about in this year of way too many games coming out.